A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

Advocating for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

In this edition of Coffee Break Exchange, we hear how Chicago is supporting their young people experiencing homelessness and how a local foundation has partnered with them in the fight to ensure equitable access to legal advocacy.

During the 2017-2018 school year, Chicago Public Schools reported serving 17,894 students experiencing homelessness. Of the student experiencing homelessness, 98.3% were children of color. While these numbers are alarming, they are not just the story of Chicago. Many cities are witnessing a growing number of students and unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness. More surprisingly, the American Bar Association found that more than half of the country has no legal services programs for homeless minors. That means for youth facing barriers in securing identification, school enrollment, housing, employment, or any number of issues that can involve a lawyer, these young people have limited to no options.

This episode we are joined by:

  • Patricia Nix-Hodes, Director of the Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
  • Debbie Reznick, Senior Program Officer at Polk Bros Foundation

We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

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